Location Services and Wifi

monicakm

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I have a question about this and instead of waiting 2-3 weeks for the app's dev to reply, I thought I'd try here.
We have the Life360 Family Locator app. It's great, we love it and it works very well 90% of the time. But, sometimes (maybe more than we know)
the thing is WAY off! Putting us places we've not been and even our current location can be off. They said to improve location to always be sure and have wifi enabled and that accuracy can also be effected by our phone's signal strength. We always have wifi on but my question is...is the app able to use wifi if we're not at home on our wifi network (or connected to another wifi network)?
Thanks
 

SpookDroid

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Yes, it can. Location services can use WiFi signals to pinpoint your location even if you're not connected to them. By just sending the hotspot's address/AP name to Google, it can know how close you are to that network's known location, making your location even more accurate if GPS is not available.
 

monicakm

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Thanks Spook. Like I said, the wifi on our phones (both S5) is always on so it must be poor reception. DH was in the deer blind and Life360 had him in a neighboring town. I was on the phone with him while he was on his way home the other day and it had him located 15 miles south while he was within 2 miles of the house. It inaccurately placed me 7 miles closer to home than I really was. My husband works in a different location every day so unless I KNOW where he is for the day, it's sometimes hard to know if the app is accurate. I think for the most part, it is.
 

AZgl1500

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There is a reason that I do NOT allow Google to use WiFi to determine my location.

ie, my IP address is sourced in a town 20 miles from my home. If the WiFi is on, Google will show me in the town that is 20 miles south of me.

By only using GPS in high accuracy mode, my location is nearly always shown accurate to within 9 meters or less.

now consider this. Suppose you are using a WiFi hotspot from a Verizon phone. That hotspot's IP address is going to be in southern California... yup yup, tried it over and over....

so, here I am in northeastern Oklahoma and if I were to allow the WiFi to determine my location, it might suddenly place me 2,000 miles west of my actual location.

so, there you have it. do NOT allow WiFi to be used to determine location. That is why GPS satellites were invented.
 

monicakm

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I thought the "high accuracy" mode was using wifi in conjunction with GPS. Guess I thought wrong? I know nothing about IP sourcing but in both of your examples...1) with wifi on, 95% of the time, the app shows me exactly where I am and 2) I do have a Verizon phone. I don't know where the ip address is but it shows me at home right now and that's where I am :) So what am I not understanding? Maybe it will help if you explain it to me like I'm 6 years old :D
Screenshot_2014-12-08-20-47-04.jpg
 

monicakm

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Went into Locations to turn off the wifi method of locating and this is what I saw. My location setting is GPS only (which I've always put it on because I've understood it as safer). After getting the email from Life360 technical support, I thought since my wifi was on, my location service was using it as well. According to this, it's not. And just as I thought, "High accuracy" includes GPS and WiFi. Get to splainin' ;)
2014-12-08 20.59.23.png
 

SpookDroid

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OK, first things first. High accuracy mode will try to use ANY location service available. It will take your network location as a rough estimate, make it better using GPS, and try to make it even more accurate if indoors by using available WiFi signals.

Now, your IP address is not the only thing that Google uses to determine your location via WiFi, but if your router is wrongly reported, you can, well, report it. They take the MAC address and Network ID of the router you're connected to, and that needs to be reported properly for this to work. It's usually automatic, but there are always exceptions to the rule and mistakes can be made.
 

monicakm

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So if you're going to allow apps to use/find your location, is ticking the GPS only option the best (as in safest option)? That's what I understood. And am I right in saying that even tho my wifi is connected at home, that I'm not letting apps use it as long as the Location services says "GPS only"?
Thanks
 

AZgl1500

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So if you're going to allow apps to use/find your location, is ticking the GPS only option the best (as in safest option)? That's what I understood. And am I right in saying that even tho my wifi is connected at home, that I'm not letting apps use it as long as the Location services says "GPS only"?
Thanks

I do NOT allow WiFi to get involved with my location, ever....
I use only GPS only (contrary to an earlier statement) , and IF the need for precise location is what I want, I always run GPS STATUS to force the GPS to get a precise location. This is very easy to do, just install this app, run it, and after that, the GPS will follow you accurate to within 9-15 meters.
* GPS Status & Toolbox - Android Apps on Google Play
GPS Status logs into a NASA server to download the Current GPS Satellite Ephemeris, once that is done, the GPS has the precise location of all the satellites and then can locate you to within 9 meters most of the time. This depends on How Many satellites are in view. Watch GPS STATUS over a period of several days/locations and you will see what I mean.

As I already said up above http://forums.androidcentral.com/samsung-galaxy-s5/470152-location-services-wifi.html#post4113024

WiFi has the potential to locate you 1,000s of miles away from where you are.
I have had that happen and researched to find out why. WiFi uses the IP Address that is reported for your phone, and the IP Address is tied to a specific server at a specific location. For Verizon, that server is located in southern California.

Try this out, with your phone's browser, and WiFi turned off, find out what your IP address is and your location.
Click on this link. What Is My IP Address? Steve's favorite


Now, turn OFF the DATA and turn ON the WiFi radio.
Click on this link yet again, and look to see what your reported location is.
What Is My IP Address? Steve's favorite


I will buy you a box of donuts right now if they are anywhere close together.
 
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monicakm

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I like apple fritters, HOT apple fritters :D
I toggled between wifi and mobile data several times.
I live 65 due east of Dallas.
These are the results:
MD (mobile data) my IP address was Carrolton, Garland (Dallas suburbs) and Dallas AND just Texas
Wifi, my address was Texas, just Texas. No city was listed.
So, I tried the Life360 app, this time having wife and GPS ticked in the Location Services. It can't locate us
with the combination they suggest (wifi and GPS). It's been "locating" for about 3 minutes and counting.
Turned it back to GPS only and I found myself. I was just where I left me! <lol>

Now I suppose you're going to argue the definition of "anywhere close". It's closer than California! :D
 

AZgl1500

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ROFL.gif
waving.gif


Yup, you got it now...

Google's programmers must think that everyone lives in a tent with Cox Cable tied to their doorstep.
ROFL.gif
waving.gif



I like that Life360 app, but I can't get anyone in my family to use it.... so, I just unloaded it off my phone. Not much point in having it if no one else will use it.

What I did do was to install a macro in MacroDroid that monitors SMS and IF it sees a single word SMS that is precisely "WHEREAREYOU" and nothing else, it will turn on the GPS if not on already, get a location, and respond back to the sender of that query with the lat/long coordinates.

If nothing else, that is a super cheap way for me to figure out where I left the phone laying
ROFL.gif
waving.gif
although I have been trying diligently to always put it back in my shirt pocket if not in use.
 

monicakm

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Speaking of laying one's phone down...I was in WM a couple days ago and in the distant background I heard, "Hi, it's your phone speaking, you have a new text message". That was MY phone and it wasn't in MY purse! Where was it? If that wasn't the first time to notify me of a new text message, I knew I had 2 more notifications coming so I waited for the next reminder. Few seconds later, it spoke up again and I was able to find it...whew!
 

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